Wheat, rice cheaper in Pakistan than India

images (1) ISLAMABAD: The prices of wheat, rice, chicken and garlic are lower in Pakistan than in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, authorities said.

The National Price Monitoring Committee said food prices in Pakistan were comparatively lower than other countries in the region, reported Dawn.

The panel has not ruled out the possibility of importing items of daily use from neighbouring countries due to the extensive damage to crops in rain- and flood-affected areas of Sindh province where over six million acres of land has been inundated and seven million people have been impacted.


Bumper wheat crop in St Albans


THE next time you bite into a biscuit or cake, chances are that a key ingredient – flour – could have come from wheat grown in St Albans.

Some of the wheat harvested this month at Bill Barr’s farm in St Albans has been sold to Bowmans in Hitchin, whose products are also used in cereals, pies and noodles.

A bumper wheat yield has delighted Bill, who was quoted in the Herts Advertiser in May fearing that one of the driest spring seasons in decades would have a detrimental impact on wheat, linseed, oats and oilseed rape crops at Dane End Farm.

However, recent continuous rain has resulted in a five per cent increase in Bill’s wheat yield. His oilseed rape crop has also been better than average, but the beans and barley did not recover from the long dry spell in spring.

Bill said: “We were very concerned. I don’t think anyone can believe how nature has turned around our fortunes, but there are people with lighter soils who have had a mediocre harvest. It all hinges on the type of soil. There are farms on the other side of St Albans with light, sandy, gravelly soil who had less than average yield. Ours is heavy and clay-based, which has saved our bacon.”

He added: “We had rain in June and July which swelled the [wheat] grain, so they are big and fat.”

Unfortunately he has had to dry 2,000 tonnes of grain artificially as the wet summer meant a lack of sunshine to dry it naturally.

Merchants will now test the grain for quality before offering a price for it. The grain will stay stored until May next year.


Winter wheat yields hold up

images WITH more than half the Recommended List (RL) winter wheat trial results now in, it is clear yields have held up well across most of the country, away from shallow soils in the east, says HGCA.

The first yields are now in from Scotland, averaging 11.1t/ha. However, national yields are still 7 per cent down in 2011 trials, compared with the five-year average.

Conqueror, KWS Santiago and Oakley top the treated yields for Group 4 winter wheat varieties, with 2011 mean ratings of 111, 110 and 109 respectively, but the

untreated yields show a different story, with some varieties not performing as strongly, which could be down to susceptibility to yellow rust, says HGCA senior RL manager Dr Simon Oxley.

Group 4 variety Stigg tops the scales for untreated yield, performing particularly well at the Teeside site. Of the candidates, KWS Solo has performed well on yield both in treated and untreated trials.

Changes are likely to be made to Stigg’s brown rust resistance scores, following the recent discovery of a new race of the disease affecting the variety. This will be of greatest concern in the east; less so in the north and west, where Stigg’s septoria tritici resistance will make it a lower input variety as far as fungicides are concerned.

Harvest progress

With harvest almost at an end in the south, but large areas of wheat still left to cut in the north and Scotland, ADAS puts harvest progress close to, or slightly ahead of, average, with winter wheat yields averaging 7.5-7.7t/ha, just below the long term average of 7.8t/ha. There is a great deal of local variation, with yield reports ranging from two to 13t/ha, says ADAS.


GRAINS-Wheat & corn futures steady in cautious Asia trade

download (10) SYDNEY, Sept 9 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat futures steadied in early Asian trade on Friday, though remained under pressure from news that big new supplies of the grain were to be offered from India.

Trade was also watchful, after three days of falls and with no big surprises from U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of a $447 billion jobs package to help boost the U.S. economy.

Wheat for December delivery were barely changed at $7.38-1/2 per bushel, having slid almost 2 percent in U.S. trade but holding above immediate support around $7.31.

Corn for December delivery inched 0.3 percent higher to $7.36-1/4 a bushel while November soybeans edged 1-1/4 cents lower to $14.17 a bushel.


* Hot and dry August weather in the U.S. Midwest caused soybean crop ratings to deteriorate and should prompt the U.S. Department of Agriculture to trim its forecast of the size of the soy crop by about 0.8 percent, analysts said.

* More than 500 protesting port workers stormed the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview, Washington, on Thursday and damaged railcars and other property, Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said.

* Much of Argentina’s wheat belt is getting dry, with frosts hampering the healthy development of 2011/12 crops in some northern areas, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said. 

* The hottest summer in over half a century is shrinking the U.S. corn crop, which will cut the nation’s corn stocks to their smallest in 15 years next summer and boost already high global food prices, analysts said.

* India will allow unrestricted exports of two million tonnes each of wheat and common rice, as bulging stocks offer political room for overseas sales which could depress global rice prices but make little dent in wheat supplies.

* The European Union this week granted export licences for 415,000 tonnes of soft wheat, the biggest award since the start of the 2011/2012 season on July 1, official data showed.


* The euro fell to a two-month low against the dollar on Thursday after the European Central Bank signaled a pause in its interest-rate tightening cycle that began just five months ago.

* U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave no indications of new stimulus measures to boost the flagging economy.

* Crude oil futures fell in choppy trading on Thursday, following Wall Street lower after the U.S. Federal Reserve Chief gave a speech that lacked new steps to spur economic growth, and as the dollar rose sharply.

Grains prices at 2343 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 738.25 0.25 +0.03% -1.76% 749.22 38 CBOT corn 735.75 1.75 +0.24% -1.64% 726.88 45 CBOT soy 1416.75 -1.50 -0.11% -0.28% 1381.35 49 CBOT rice $17.79 -$0.05 -0.25% -2.01% $17.29 59 WTI crude $88.49 -$0.56 -0.63% -0.95% $85.83 55 Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.390 $0.002 +0.16% -1.35%

USD/AUD 1.060 0.002 +0.21% -0.57%

Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential

(Reporting by Mark Bendeich)


French wheat, corn output revised up on good summer

download (9) PARIS (Commodity Online): The good summer growing conditions has raised the expectations of the Wheat and Cornoutput in France.
In August, the forecast for the wheat crop had been raised to 500,000 tons and further raised to 1 million tons on Wednesday by farm ministry; now the total estimates has touched 33.5 million tons. The Farm Ministry has also raised the forecast of corn by 800,000 tons to 14.1 million tons.
The yield is said to be 10 ton per hectare this season against 9 tons per hectare last season as per Consultancy Arvalis. This would be a record!!
In 2010, the total wheat crop output of the country was less than 30 million tons as worst drought hit the crop areas which resulted in damage of 2.2 million tons.
Meanwhile, the rainfall in July had boosted the Wheat crop in UK and the harvest was expected in range of 14.6 million and 14.8 million tons, which is more than expected by growers.
Other parts of the Europe had experienced mixed results due to variance in weather conditions.
According to the German Farm Co-operative Association, the wheat forecast there has been reduced by 900,000 tons to 40.3 million tons due to wet weather damaging crops which was already weakened by dry weather in May and June.


World food prices hold steady despite costlier cereals, wheat

images (4)

Abu Dhabi World food prices remained almost unchanged between July and August this year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Price Index published yesterday.

While the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI), which averaged 231 points last month — down by one point from 232 in July, it is 26 per cent higher compared to August 2010. It stands at only six points below the Index’s all time high of 238 points in February 2011.

The majority of this year on year increase has come in the increase of cereals, said Giyas Gokkent, Chief Group Economist at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. “It’s gone up 36 per cent year on year,” he said. The second category to have contributed to the rise in food prices is the meat category, with a 15.8 per cent year on year, he added.

Within the index, cereal prices rose, reflecting the fact that although cereal production is expected to increase, it will not do so by enough to offset the additional demand, so that stocks continue to be low and prices continue to be high and volatile, the FOA statement said.

Average wheat prices were also up 9 per cent in August given the strong demand for feed wheat and shrinking supplies of high quality wheat. Nonetheless, world wheat production is forecast to increase by 4.3 per cent (or 28 million tonnes), only 4 million tonnes below the 2009 record, the statement explained. “What this suggests is that food prices will continue to rise in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and will affect the economies with lower average income,” Gokkent said.

Countries with lower income levels would be impacted by inflation more than other countries because with a lower income a larger portion is spent on food, he explained.

In the GCC, for example, countries like Oman and Saudi Arabia would be more impacted because of the weight of the food category. “In Saudi Arabia the weight of food category is 26 per cent of their consumer price index. In Oman, it’s 30.4 per cent,” he said. “The UAE’s weight of food category is only 13.9 per cent, so it won’t be as affected as the other two because it’s a richer country on a per capita basis.”

Gokkent said that much of what is happening mirrors what is happening with the energy prices. “I think the key will be the direction which oil prices take,” he said.

“If there’s no sudden global meltdown, then food prices will stabilise,” he said. “If there is a global economic slowdown then you would expect to see also a decline in perhaps oil prices and in that food prices would come down,” he added.

high demand

upward trend


increase in FAO food price index


increase in average wheat prices in August


Insight: Feast of protein in U.S. spring wheat harvest


(Reuters) – North Dakota wheat farmer Terry Weckerly applied extra fertilizer to his wheat this summer to coax more protein out of the crop. Flour mills and grain elevators were paying near-record premiums for high-protein wheat and he wanted a slice of it.

The fertilizer worked too well. Weckerly and other spring wheat farmers are harvesting a crop with protein content of more than 15 percent. The protein-richest crop in five years has led to those high premiums evaporating.

Scorching weather in July stressed the crop, which usually leads to lower yields even as the wheat plants devote more energy to protein production.

However, premiums for higher protein wheat — which this March had soared to more than $6 per bushel above Minneapolis Grain Exchange spring wheat futures — the highest since 2008 — are now gone due to an abundance of it, replaced by a dynamic some grain industry insiders have not seen in a decade: a push for low-protein spring wheat.

"We’re going from famine to feast," said a manager at a Canadian grain elevator, who like several of the dozen grain merchants interviewed for this article was not authorized to speak on the record.

North Dakota is the top producer of hard red spring wheat, which is one of the most valuable wheat varieties, prized for its high protein and gluten content.

Flour produced with high-quality spring wheat better absorbs water, making a dough that in turn results in airier, more stable loaves of bread, bagels, rolls or pizza crusts.

The total U.S. spring wheat crop, excluding the durum used to make pasta, was forecast by the U.S. Agriculture Department at 522 million bushels, down 15 percent from last year, with both the crop and yield estimated to be lowest in four years.

MGEX spring wheat futures are trading near a three-month high due to the small crop, closing at $9.50 per bushel on Thursday, and the Minneapolis premium over Chicago Board of Trade wheat remains at about a two-month high.

The globally-tracked CBOT trades in the lower protein soft red winter wheat futures, while hard red winter wheat trades at the Kansas City Board of Trade.

But with half of the crop harvested, the wheat had an average protein content of 15.1 percent, up from averages of 13.7 percent and 13.2 percent during the past two years, according to the U.S. Wheat Associates.

It would be the most protein since 2006 and only the second time in the last 10 years the crop averaged more than 15 percent protein.

Cory Tryan, who manages the Alton Grain Terminal in Hillsboro, North Dakota, said: "The (protein) scales always adjust to what comes off each season, as the mills and the export market adjust to what we have. It’s not uncommon. It’s just such a wide swing in one year that everyone is up in arms about it."


Two months ago, rail cars of 15 percent protein wheat delivered to Chicago were priced $5.10 per bushel above the benchmark MGEX futures price while 13 percent wheat was 80 cents above futures, according to USDA data. Last week, the price was the same for 13 or 15 percent protein.

"The premiums have basically disappeared," said Dan DeRouchey, general manager of Berthold Farmers Elevator near the North Dakota-Minnesota border.

In normal years, elevators would slash the price they give farmers for wheat delivered under 13.5 or 14 percent protein, but this year flour mills and elevators are seeking low-protein spring wheat from Montana or South Dakota, or hard red winter wheat from Colorado, Nebraska or Kansas.

"We’re looking for anything below 13 percent protein right now," said a grain buyer at a Kansas flour mill.

The southern U.S. Plains HRW wheat harvest also had higher-than-normal protein this year while some lower-quality HRW supplies are being used as animal feed after wheat prices fell below corn for the first time since 1996.

"The market is saying we don’t need to pay up for protein. The market is going to have to pull those lower proteins out now," Country Hedging analyst Tim Emslie said.


Importing countries, such as Japan, which favors high-quality wheat, may welcome shipments with more protein.

"Some of our overseas customers, particularly in Asia are happy to see the high protein," said Erica Olson, marketing specialist at the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

But it could be several more weeks before U.S. mills adjust to the new-crop wheat still coming out of the fields. Mills, above all, value consistency and work to produce a uniform product, whether they have to blend up, or down, the protein content in their flour.

Vance Taylor, president of the state-owned North Dakota Mill, declined to comment on any challenges the mill may be facing in sourcing low-protein wheat this year.

"We have had good demand from our customers," Taylor said of the mill, which has enjoyed record profits in each of the last two years.


Wheat export will check further fall in domestic prices: Floor millers

images NEW DELHI: Flour millers today hailed the government’s decision to lift a four year-old ban on wheat exports, saying this would not only prevent a further decline in domestic retail prices, but would also enable the export of high protein varieties to the Middle East.

Yesterday, the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Food decided to lift the ban on wheat exports, subject to a ceiling of two million tonnes. The ban was imposed in early 2007.

"Despite record procurement by the government, there is still so much wheat in the market. The prices have fallen to below support price in some states like Uttar Pradesh," M K Dattaraj, a former President of the Roller Flour Mills Federation, said.


Outlook good for quality of wheat harvest

download (2) The quality of this year’s wheat harvest is likely to be better than last year, according to the HGCA’s Provisional Cereals Quality Survey.

The results, which were based on 18,000 wheat samples collected up to 31 August, showed a lower moisture content, plus a higher Hagberg Falling Number, specific weight and protein level, compared to 2010 and three-year averages. This suggests the 2011 crop may be of better quality than 2010 when 37% of 2010 wheat samples made full bread milling specification (nabim group 1).
However, the HGCA warned that the findings were currently biased towards higher-quality bread milling wheat, with the full results in November expected to give a better overall picture of the crop, especially for soft milling varieties.
Average moisture content in this year’s wheat crop was recorded at 14.9% with an average protein content of 12.3% – an increase on 2010’s final result of 11.9% and 4% higher than the three-year average.
Just over 75% of the UK’s wheat crop had been harvested by the beginning of this week, with yields just under the five-year average at between 7.5-7.7 tonnes per hectare.


Govt lifts ban on wheat exports, prohibits onion exports

onion_325_040111034417_090611062120_090811091116 The government on Thursday decided to lift four year-old ban on wheat exports but prohibited onion exports to control its rising prices .
The decision to open wheat exports was taken by the empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) on food, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the wake of record production and storage problem.
"Wheat and non-basmati rice exports have been put under the Open General License (OGL)," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.
However, the foodgrains exports would be subject to a quantitative restrictions of two million tonnes each.
"We will stop export of wheat and non-basmati rice once shipments reaches two million tonnes each," Food Minister K V Thomas said.
Wheat exports was banned in early 2007 to augment buffer stock when the output had fallen.
While the ban on non-basmati rice exports was lifted in July after three years with a quantitative restrictions of one million tonnes, it was put on hold by the Delhi High Court following allegations of irregularities in quota allocation.
Thomas said that onion export has been banned and the situation would be reviewed every two weeks. Onion prices have risen to Rs 25 per kg in retail market from Rs 15 per kg a month ago on supply constraints.
Although food inflation is near the double digit, the prices of rice and wheat have remained stable and the government is grappling with storage problem on the back of record foodgrains production of 241.56 million tonnes.